How to Stop Feeling Like a Fraud
Nov 13, 2019
Are you letting imposter syndrome run your biz?
As I designed the template for the new version of my website, my excitement grew to anxiousness as I continued to add text, move pictures around, and hit Save whenever I finished a section. Thoughts began surfacing that I found all too familiar - Will anyone even buy this? Am I asking for too much? Who am I to charge others for my time? It was a mental dance that I knew all too well. After an hour, I shut my laptop down without finishing the page, feeling defeated.
I present to you, imposter syndrome in its worst form; self-sabotage.
Imposter syndrome is the psychological phenomenon in which a person doubts their abilities or accomplishments and has a persistent, internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud. This internalized fear is perpetuated by thoughts of inadequacy and overwhelm, and as an entrepreneur, I began to recognize it when I was levelling-up. For example: Being on podcasts as an interviewee and having to talk about my business, talking to prospective (and high-paying) clients, updating my website with a new package, and etc.
The self-sabotage stage of imposter syndrome happens because of the risk-estimating function in our brains. Our brain wants to root in safety and stay there comfortably, preferably with some slippers and a cocktail. When presented with risk, our brains immediate response is to reject, reject, reject, and pull us back into the safe zone where nothing can hurt us. If you are an entrepreneur, you already know that the road to success is paved with A LOT of failure and rejection; and as a result, this equals chaos to our brains. So it would only make sense that when we're venturing into new territory with ourselves and/or our business, our brains want to put us back on the track home base, which typically means a space where we feel most comfortable. But comfort never gets us anywhere as an entrepreneur.
If you are feeling the effects of imposter syndrome and it's preventing you from levelling-up in your biz - GIRL, we gotta get that situation under control.
Here are three daily strategies you can use to overcome imposter syndrome and stop feeling like a fraud:
1. Separate feelings from facts.
You may be telling yourself "I FEEL unqualified, I FEEL incapable, I FEEL stupid". But are those cold, hard facts? Try brain-dumping your thoughts into a journal and then re-assessing them when you are feeling confident. Are any of your thoughts factual? If you recognize your thoughts as passing towns rather than destinations, you are more likely to bring yourself back to reality when experiencing an episode of imposter syndrome.
2. Focus on the value you are offering.
Imposter syndrome is self-centered AF. If you really assessed your thoughts during an episode, you would notice that it's a lot of "I Feel, I Am", and has little to do with who you are trying to SERVE. In the midst of an episode, such as when I was completing the packages on my website and my intruding thoughts became overwhelming, circle back to who you're trying to serve and what value you are trying to bring to THEM, versus what your actions say about YOU.
3. Face it til' you make it.
When dealing with imposter syndrome, reach out and talk to someone who is in the same boat. Post in a community Facebook group and find your #businessbestie to talk about your feelings. Journal it out. Call your mom and have a chat, because no one can pump your tires like your mom can.
In the midst of an imposter syndrome episode, it is crucial to have someone on the outside pull you back into reality. This is the reason why successful people in business choose to have a mentor of some sort (i.e. therapist, coach, consultant); external validation on a regular basis helps dismiss feelings of inadequacy and puts you back on track with fulfilling the sh*t out of your dreams.
The largest hurdle to overcome with imposter syndrome are our thoughts, which can be hard to change when we have spent so long thinking the same things such as, "I'm not good enough" and "I'm not worthy". Try these strategies on a regular basis so you can develop new ways of thinking and #ditchtheimposter